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Mistaken identity

There are days when I wake up and wonder who I am. What I’m doing here. It usually takes just a couple of seconds for my life to come flooding back and for that sense of contentment that I’m enjoying lately to flood through my veins. On good days, when everything is going to plan (even though I didn’t have a plan to begin with), life is better than good – it’s great. And on days like these, I don’t have an identity crisis. I know my name, where I live, and although still not too clear on my purpose in life, I know who I am.
So when I get an email that starts off with:
Jo napot, Jiang Yi vagyok Yuan, a befektetesi menedzser dolgozik egy neves bank Hong Kongban. en vagyok a kapcsolatot, az uzleti tranzakciok tekinteteben azt akarjak vegrehajtani, azt illetoen, hogy egy alvo szamla, amely osszege tizenegy millio otszazezer dollar tartozo nehai ugyfelnek. Meg kell felelniuk a meglevo ultimatumot a bank, hogy egy csaladtagja, es minden olyan erofeszitest, hogy keresse meg a mar bizonyitott sikerrel. Szeretnem bemutatni onnek, mint a tъlelo csaladtag lehetove teszi hogy egy allitas, hogy az alapok. Kerjuk szives jelezze erdeklodeset tovabbi informacioert azaltal, hogy valaszol az en privat e-mail cim: [email protected] Koszonom, Jiang Yuan Yi
… I start to wonder. I know one person in Hong Kong and it’s not Jiang Yuan Li. I am wary of anything that has to do with banks or business transactions with strangers and I detest ultimatums. But I know I’m not Hungarian and I know that my Hungarian isn’t up to a correct translation. So I read on. And, as if sensing that I might be confused about my identity, Jiang Yuan Yi tries out my German.
Hallo,Ich bin Jiang Yi Yuan, Investment Manager, die fuer eine seriose Bank in Hong Kong. Ich kontaktiere Sie in Bezug auf Geschaeftsgang Ich mochte, dass wir ausfuehren, ist es in Bezug auf ein ruhendes Konto, die elf Millionen, fuenfhunderttausend Dollar Zugehorigkeit zu meinem verstorbenen Kunden Mengen. Ich habe eine bestehende Ultimatum von der Bank treffen, um ein Mitglied seiner Familie und allen Bemuehungen zum Auffinden jeder bewaehrt hat erfolglos sind. Ich mochte Ihnen als ueberlebende Familienmitglied praesentieren, damit Sie stellen einen Anspruch auf die Mittel. Wir bitten Sie zeigen Ihr Interesse fuer weitere Informationen durch die Reaktion auf meine private E-Mail-Adresse: [email protected] Danke, Jiang Yi Yuan
No better. However much Hungarian I might have gleaned over the last few years, my German could be written on the back of a postage stamp. Yet for whatever reason, Jiang Yi Yuan seems to think that if I am not Hungarian, I might be German  – why else would I be living in Hungary. This is where it gets interesting – this email was sent to an old UK hotmail account. And just in case I wasn’t German, my new friend Jiang Yi Yuan decided to be sure that I’d get the message.
Good Day, I am Jiang Yi Yuan, an Investment Manager working for a reputable Bank in Hong Kong. I am contacting you with regards to business transaction I want us to execute, it is in respect to a dormant account which amounts to Eleven Million, Five Hundred Thousand Dollars belonging to my late client.
I have to meet an existing ultimatum from the Bank to provide a member of his family and all efforts to locate any has been proven unsuccessful. I want to present you as a surviving family member to enable you put a claim to the funds. Please kindly indicate your interest for more information by responding to my private email address: [email protected] Thank you, Jiang Yi Yuan
I’ve had lots of these but never one in three languages. Does anyone ever really fall for them? Are there people in the world who would actually believe Jiang Yi Yuan? Thank God I know who I am – and that I am in no danger of mistaking myself for a gullible, senseless, trilingual cretin who fails to notice that it’s not possible to be reputable while at the same time asking complete strangers to impersonate a relative of a dead man. What is the world coming to eh?

Grateful 45

I find myself looking a lot at reflections lately. I know I am prone to minor obsessions but they ususally work themselves out after a couple of weeks. This one, though, has been around for a while. I find the subtle changes that the medium makes fascinating: the wavering introduced to a straight line, the barely noticeable change in colour, the different perspective offered by looking sideways.

I was reminded recently of a fellah who used to come into the bank I worked in years ago in Dublin. His name was Joe Caulfield and he was from Dundalk. He had dirty-blonde hair and always looked like he’d been dragged through a ditch backwards. One particular day, I was really upset about something I’d done (or not done – I can’t quite remember). He asked me if I’d been able to look at myself in the mirror that morning without squirming. I had. He told me then that I’d nothing to worry about – we are our harshest critics. I’ve no idea where he is now or what he’s doing and doubt very much that he knows how those words affected me. That conversation has stayed with me for nearly 30 years. And then, during the week, when I read this verse, I had reason to remember Joe and his words of wisdom.

‘When you get what you want in the struggle for self, and the world makes you king for a day; just go to the mirror and look at yourself, and see what that man has to say. For it isn’t your father or mother or wife, whose judgment upon you must pass; the fellow whose verdict counts most in your life, is the one staring back from the glass. He’s the fellow to please; never mind all the rest, for he’s with you clear to the end. And you’ve passed your most dangerous, difficult test, if the man in the glass is your friend. You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years, and get pats on the back as you pass. But your final reward will be heartache and tears, if you’ve cheated the man in the glass.’

After a week of ups and downs, chaos and quiet, I’m grateful that me and yer woman in the glass are still on good terms.